Victims include the head of school and the 9-year-old daughter of the church’s lead pastor.
Parents were invited into the chapel at The Covenant School in Nashville on Monday morning, as they are every school-day morning. They sang and prayed with the roughly 200 elementary students and 40 or 50 staff at the Presbyterian Church in America school and listened as pastor Matthew Sullivan “raises it to another level,” as one student put it, with his kid-friendly Bible lesson.
A few hours later, though, parents crowded into the sanctuary of Woodmont Baptist Church, two miles down the road, waiting to hear the worst. In the interval, the private Christian school became the site of the 130th mass shooting of 2023, which left three children and three staff members dead.
“I know this is probably the worst day of everyone’s lives,” a police officer told the crowd. “I can’t tell you how sympathetic we are.”
The three students killed were each 9 years old. Police identified them as Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs, the daughter of Covenant Presbyterian Church senior pastor Chad Scruggs. The adult victims were head of school Katherine Koonce, 60; substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, 61; and custodian Mike Hill, 61.
In a statement Monday night, The Covenant School said its community is “in shock coming out of the terror that shattered our school and church” and asked for privacy as the investigation into the attack continues.
Metro Nashville Police Department spokesman Don Aaron said that a 28-year-old former student shot out some glass doors and entered through the side of the building carrying two assault rifles and a handgun. Police were called at 10:13 a.m. They arrived less than 15 minutes later and followed the sounds of gunfire to the second floor …